We’ve just confirmed Urbanspoon Biz Dev lead Fred Dimesa for our iPad demo session at next month’s DMS conference. One of the reasons this is cool — besides the fact that we like Urbanspoon — is that the company just announced its 1 billionth “shake.”
Shakes, for those unfamiliar, are how searches happen on the local restaurant discovery engine. In fact, this was our pre-season pick for favorite local app because it was the first to utilize the iPhone’s hardware capabilities (rather than just replicate desktop search).
The accelerometer and GPS chip are used to detect the shake and serve nearby filtered choices, all within a fun slot-machine type interface. The app itself is among the top apps of all time in the App Store, and this popularity helped get the company acquired by CityGrid about two years ago.
But as the DMS show will focus on SMB tools, Dimesa will spotlight Urbanspoon’s Rezbook iPad app. Like OpenTable, it lets users reserve tables at a growing list of restaurant partners. Unlike OpenTable, its merchant-facing end doesn’t require installed hardware — just an iPad.
Another possible advantage over OpenTable is the larger share of its user base that are mobile, as it seeds reservations primarily through mobile searches. Though overall usage is smaller than OpenTable’s, it’s growing quickly, and this higher share of mobility leads to more engaged users.
Specifically, more intent is shown and there’s less latency: 22 percent of its reservations are made within the hour and 77 percent within 24 hours. OpenTable has told us similar figures for its reservations that are made from its (and its partners’) mobile apps — a key area of growth.
This mobility is also meant to get in front of more users, while Rezbook is meant to lower the barriers for restaurants. It has a long way to go to catch up to OpenTable, but its name recognition and CityGrid sales channel are certainly on its side. We’ll get to see more at DMS.